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Discomfort slowing Swarzak's rehab timeline

Reliever recovering from strained left oblique slower than expected
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Lingering oblique discomfort has prompted Mets reliever Anthony Swarzak to pause his throwing program, also putting a trip to Florida on hold.

Swarzak threw off flat ground as recently as Monday at Citi Field, but he and Mets trainers decided to halt his throwing program at that time. He had been scheduled to fly to Florida late this week to ramp up his rehab from a strained left oblique, but the team shelved that plan, as well.

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NEW YORK -- Lingering oblique discomfort has prompted Mets reliever Anthony Swarzak to pause his throwing program, also putting a trip to Florida on hold.

Swarzak threw off flat ground as recently as Monday at Citi Field, but he and Mets trainers decided to halt his throwing program at that time. He had been scheduled to fly to Florida late this week to ramp up his rehab from a strained left oblique, but the team shelved that plan, as well.

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"I still feel optimistic," said Swarzak, who injured himself in a March 31 game against the Cardinals. "I still want it to be a short amount of time. It just isn't going to be as short as I would like it. My body will tell me when I'm ready, and right now I'm not ready."

Both Swarzak and manager Mickey Callaway painted the issue as a precautionary measure due to the way his oblique responded to throwing, rather than as a setback.

"I think they just decided that it would be better for him to continue to get treatment than kind of going ahead and throwing," manager Mickey Callaway said. "He's going to stay here for a few more days, then figure out exactly when he's going to down to Florida and start really getting after it."

Video: STL@NYM: Swarzak works out of a jam in the 7th

A key member of the Mets' Opening Day bullpen, Swarzak allowed one run in two outings before hitting the disabled list. At the time of his injury, he said he hoped to pitch as soon as the next day. But a subsequent MRI revealed the strain, and Swarzak has since recovered slower than he hoped. At this point, he is almost certain to miss at least a month, though Swarzak said he is "steadily progressing," and he hopes to fly to Florida soon.

"You just never know," Callaway said. "Obviously you don't know how people are going to heal, et cetera. You kind of go day by day, and see if he's improving."

Swarzak signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Mets in December, capping a career year that saw him post a 2.33 ERA in 70 appearances for the White Sox and Brewers.

See you next year
As expected, catcher Travis d'Arnaud underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday in New York. He will miss the entire 2018 season, and said he is unsure if his rehab will leak into Spring Training. Catchers typically require 10 to 12 months to complete their rehab from that operation, compared to 12 to 18 months for pitchers.

Rotation crunch
Among the starting pitching solutions the Mets are considering when Jason Vargas returns from the DL is a six-man rotation, which the team has employed sporadically in recent years. With Zack Wheeler pitching well, there is no obvious candidate to leave the rotation when Vargas returns as soon as April 27.

"I think it's one of the many decisions we have to make when we're looking at it," Callaway said. "It's something we'll keep in mind, for sure."

Video: HOU@NYM: Vargas rings up Dawson for his fifth K

The Mets have been hesitant to divulge their rotation plans, knowing much can happen in the coming days to change them. Already, Vargas has missed more time than the Mets anticipated when he broke a bone in his glove hand in late March. The left-hander will make a Minor League rehab start on Sunday, fielding his position for the first time since the injury. If all goes well, Vargas could return five days later.

Should the Mets opt against a six-man rotation at that time, Callaway said, the decision may hinge upon whom the Mets feel is best equipped to succeed in the bullpen. When pressed about his ideas on the subject, Callaway demurred.

"I have lots of ideas," he said with a grin.

Shake it off
Earlier this homestand, Mets third baseman Todd Frazier revealed a gift for the team: a wooden pepper grinder that he intended to paint and give to the star of each victory, much as the Mets did with a crown and robe in previous seasons. On Sunday, Wilmer Flores earned the inaugural grinder, an extension of the team's on-field "salt and pepper" celebration.

But when Frazier spotted the grinder still sitting in Flores' locker Wednesday following two consecutive losses, he decided it may not be worth the karma. Frazier grabbed it and removed it from the main clubhouse room.

"I've been meaning to do that," he said. "It's bad luck."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Travis d'Arnaud, Anthony Swarzak, Jason Vargas